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Discussion around lakeshore Sea Cadets building docked for now

'We are still in talks with the city about getting a new boathouse down by the Southshore Centre,' says Navy League of Barrie president

There's still no word on what could be done with the Navy League/Sea Cadets building that sits on a prime piece of land for potential future development, but those who use it are hoping to hear something soon.

The small, white building at 9 Simcoe St., located near the foot of Bayfield Street, is used by the Navy League/Sea Cadets as a boathouse for their training and exercises. 

In December 2019, council asked city staff to investigate potential partnerships in support of relocating the Sea Cadets building to the south shore. 

In an email to BarrieToday, City of Barrie community and corporate services general manager Dawn McAlpine said that  “at this time, the city is not actively engaged in any proposals to relocate the Sea Cadets.”

Diane Chislett, who is the Navy League of Barrie president, met BarrieToday down at the Simcoe Street building. She said there were trustees who were overseeing the building, because the Navy League can’t own property due to its status as a not-for-profit organization. 

“The trustees sold it to the city and so the building belongs to the City of Barrie,” Chislett explained. “We do take care of it and run what happens out of here, but we are still in talks with the city about getting a new boathouse down by the Southshore Centre.”

With the Barrie Marina on one side of Sea Cadets building and the Bayfield Basin Transient Marina on the other, it has been noted in the past that the current Navy League facility is in a high-traffic area on Kempenfelt Bay and could create safety issues. Moving to the city's south shore would mean less marine traffic. 

Chislett said she last spoke with Mayor Jeff Lehman about a month ago regarding the issue, but with him not seeking re-election, she says she isn’t sure how much progress will be made.

“I don’t know what will happen with the new council. Obviously, we will have a new mayor and Jeff has been great with us. I just know that this little spit of land is of high value because of where it is,” Chislett said. “Whether or not you move the marina office over here, or some kind of conference area, we even heard of this being ideal for a restaurant.”

McAlpine said past discussions at the council table indicated the city would retain the land versus selling the property.  

“As a result, a current appraisal has not been undertaken at this time,” McAlpine added.

Chislett said the building, which is included in the city's waterfront and marina strategic plan, is considered a watersports facility. The Navy League and Sea Cadets sail out of the building and use the facility for storing boats and other equipment. 

The Regional Sail Centre will be returning to Barrie after being located at Geneva Park in Orillia, which will add more people to the list of those using the facility, she added. 

Chislett also said she's aware that council gave the $11.2-million Heritage Park revitalization plan approval, in principle, in early June.

“That would more than give us a new building,” said Chislett. “Then they could use this land for whatever they want.”